Wednesday, July 30, 2008

July Daring Baker's Challenge

Its been another craaaaaaaazy month, and this month, the darlings at the Daring Bakers came up with just the perfect recipe to fight away the stress and the blues. Chris of Mele Cotte is our hostess this month, and she chose the Filbert [fancy word for Hazelnut] Gateau with Praline Buttercream. I have to say, this was a truly truly truly smashing cake, luxurious and rich, a light, flavorful gateau permeated with little bits of hazelnut and the sweetness of rum, coated in a thick layer of ganche.

So, first there was the praline buttercream, or in my case, the praline whipped cream. This turned out to be the single biggest disaster of this challenge, partly because I stupidly only checked the web for tips after I screwed up my whipped cream, and partly because its my first time whipping cream. Long story short, buttercream is NOT like whipped cream, and what applies to buttercream doesn't apply to whipped cream, such as whipping it some more when it cuddles, wahaha.

Anyhoo, my whipped cream died 5 seconds after I added the praline, and I whipped it some more, thinking it'll get better. It didn't. I whipped it so much it probably turned into praline butter. Not interested in repeating the whole process, I chucked it into the fridge until it was more or less firm, then slapped it onto the cake anyway.




Now for the cake, which is probably the singular most successful part of this recipe. Expecting a repeat performance of the non-rising cake of the May L'opera cake, since the recipe seemed pretty similar, I used a smaller but taller cake tin, in the hopes of forcing 3 layers out of the cake, by hook or by crook. Turned out, my plan backfired, because surprise surprise, the cake rose mile high, and overflowed out of my tin.



Still, I'm thrilled that it rose so much, and I got 3 layers out of it with no problems at all. A tip that I got off the Daring Bakers forum, to 'cut' the layers with a piece of dental floss, instead of trying to hack it with a knife, gave me beautiful layers. I was so proud of my sky high cake and its neat, even, un-crumbly layers that I couldn't stop staring at it =P


The cake, doused with the rum syrup, filled with the mutant whipped cream, and glazed with strawberry jam:



The rest of the challenge went without a hitch, and by the end of the day, I had a beautiful, gorgeous gateau in my fridge.




Having said all that, I also have to say that I won't be making this cake again unless it was for an uber uber uber special event. My greatest problem with this recipe is that it is simply too luxurious, bordering on decadence, and not in the good sense. I believe I can achieve a similar cake with half the ingredients used in this cake, such as reducing the nuts and increasing the flour, using plain buttercream/whipped cream instead of praline, so on and so forth.

In today's climate of world starvation and inflation of food prices, I really cannot justify, to myself, the spending of so much resources on a cake. Also, don't you think that its more of a challenge to create something delicious from limited resources? To me, when that much ingredients are thrown into a cake, it can't help but taste good, which is not much of a testament to my skills as a baker and a cook =)


21 comments:

jan said...

wahseh, looks damn fantastic can! :)

maybelles parents said...

you know, I had the same thought about starvation. in fact, I have decided to donate money to unicef for every DB challenge I do--it seems a little wrong to have such decadence. That said, it did rise in a very lovely way.

sleepingbearinthekitchen said...

LOL, I had the same issue with batter overflow...I think you did a marvelous job!!!!

Michelle Dargen said...

You cake looks fantastic!

I would make this again but only if it was a very special occasion and some specifically requested it. Plus, I better really really like the person! LOL

Great job!!

Vegan_Noodle said...

Beautiful cake!! Funny story about the whipped cream :-) Great job on this month's challenge!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

A very pretty cake! Great job, wow!

Cheers,

rosa

Szkrabeka said...

I'd love to have a piece of yours ;-)
Looks really fantastic!

Michelle said...

Sweet and simple and so pretty. Great job!

Francijn Brouwer said...

Such neat layers! You definitely waited to cut until it had cooled down :-) (I didn't...)

Jo said...

Looks very the nice leh! Seems like you had a few episodes in the kitchen as well. But heh the end result looks great!

Alisha said...

Hi,

I wanted to write to you, but couldn't find your email, so thought I'd leave a comment instead. We at Wowzio have built some beautiful and engaging widgets for your blog.
These pull up content, images & user-activity from your blog automatically, auto update, and are free of charge. Please take a look at the "Panoramic Slideshow", "Live Activity" and "Feed Content" widget for your blog at
See Wowzio Widgets for Your Blog

I apologize for having to leave a comment, please note it is not my intent to spam you.

Thx-Alisha
alisha.wright1@gmail.com

Namratha said...

Gosh, that is a perfect slice of cake, looks very good! Wonderfully done :)

madcapcupcake said...

Your cake is so pretty - beautiful job :)

Ann said...

Really gorgeous! One would never know you'd had any issues at all!

una donna dolce said...

wow - I am impressed - that cake was looking pretty weird at first, but with the ganache and frosting it's a beauty!

Elra said...

Hi,
I also didn't use butter cream, I made praline moose instead! Sorry that yours didn't turn out well. I think the finish gateau look delice!

Vera said...

The cake turned out great!
I wouldn't have suspected any difficulties on the road.

pixie said...

your cake looks great! wish i had used whipped cream!

Tartelette said...

Wow! Looks fantatic! I try to share all the challenges and pretty much everything I do with friends or I'll organized a nice dinner around it.

Mrs Erg├╝l said...

These look really good!

Lauren said...

Ooo, your cake looks wonderful! I love your decorations!!